Before I had a baby, I was a competitive athlete. I worked out a lot, played team sports for more than a decade, and was in outstanding physical shape. The more I sit and walk through the meditations in this book, the more I realize that part of my enjoyment in athletic endeavors was the tight focus.
When I was running down a field or rowing down a river, I was only thinking about that movement, that moment, and the breath getting me through it. There is no time to plan or worry or dwell. There is only run, step, run, step, bend, breathe.
As I worked my way through the walking meditation last week, I was struck by Sharon's words: "Experiment with pace until you find the speed that best allows you to keep your attention on the feeling of walking--the speed that allows you to remain the most mindful."
I would like to speed up until I am running down the street. Now, I don't exactly enjoy running. I actually hate it. Running was always a means to a different end for me. I ran to avoid a defender or help a teammate or score a point, never just to pay attention to my legs moving through space, the feel of the earth meeting my feet.
I feel so strongly that physical exertion is missing from my life and wonder whether running purposefully could fill both my need for intense movement AND the need to slow my mind and focus?
Is there too much to pay attention to, too quickly, when running? Is exercise a separate practice from meditation? I suppose these are all questions better placed in a tweet chat or an email, but it's been on my mind a lot of late, particularly on this 65 degree February day!